We gave it a C-
PREVIOUSLY: Iron Fist episode 9 recap
Well, there you go. This episode finally revealed the show’s big plot twist. If you weren’t even expecting a big plot twist, well, that’s not entirely your fault. The show did a terrible job of telegraphing that something was coming. My co-recapper Chancellor Agard noted as much back in episode 7 when Bakuto first appeared. Remember that? He just kinda showed up, said hi to Colleen, acknowledged that he knew about the Iron Fist, and then vanished for a few episodes before triumphantly returning to defeat Gao last episode. The show should’ve done a much better job of setting up the reveal about him and Colleen.
Part of the problem in this episode is that the monastery/school/safe space (its exact nature is unclear) Colleen and Bakuto take Danny to seems pretty awesome. There’s a welcoming atmosphere, everybody seems happy, and no one will look askance if you start doing yoga poses in the middle of the lawn, as Bakuto and Danny do to “recharge their chi.”
Once he takes Danny to his office, Bakuto basically becomes the official mouthpiece for the semblance of an anti-capitalist critique that sometimes peeks its head out from underneath the surface of the show. Bakuto sounds a bit like Bernie Sanders as he talks about the world being run by corporations, not governments. He explains his plan for how to stop them by showing Danny grainy footage from 1948 of a previous Iron Fist defeating a squad of Chinese soldiers with ease. If Danny could learn to harness that power, then together he and Bakuto would be unstoppable. Together, they could defeat all the “Gaos” of the world, and instead stick up for the marginalized, forgotten people of the world – like Colleen, the other students at this place, and even Danny himself. Danny laughs that off, telling Bakuto, “I’m a billionaire,” but Bakuto points out that Danny is obviously tortured on the inside. Actually, it’s hard to tell exactly where Danny’s head is at. Take that “I’m a billionaire” line, for instance. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that for a guy who spent 15 years in a heavenly monastery learning to let go of material attachments and only got his obscene wealth back like a week ago, Danny sure does love his money.
In that way, he’s not too different from Harold and Joy, who call him to get his help with their harebrained scheme to regain control of Rand. Harold is so overjoyed to hear Danny defeated Gao that he breaks out the bourbon for his newly in-on-it daughter, only to freak out and break the glasses thanks to his deteriorating mind (perhaps we should call this Beric Dondarrion Syndrome). Bakuto, it turns out, was listening in on the call somehow, and tells an underling to trace its source.
Danny suffers from a common superhero ailment likely produced by the popularity of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies: He literally refuses to stop thinking and talking about his parents who died decades ago. As such, he infiltrates Bakuto’s compound until he finds a feed of Gao’s cell. Wai Ching Ho proceeds to quickly steal the entire episode as she renews her mind games with Danny, telling him that the people around him are not who they say they are. Gao says they’re trying to erode Danny’s sense of trust, as if they’re Russian internet trolls peddling fake news for Vladimir Putin. Who are they, exactly? Why, Gao says, the Hand, of course. Just then Bakuto comes in and takes Danny away. The camera then lingers on Gao for several seconds, totally unnecessarily. Shots like that go on way too long on this show and are probably part of the reason episodes like one this drag on for a whopping 56 minutes.
NEXT: The Hand is everywhere